Bettara-Ichi

Bettara-Ichi

October 19
The annual Pickle Market or Sticky-Sticky Fair is held near the Ebisu Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, to supply people with what they will need to observe the Ebisu Festival on the following day, October 20. One of the seven Shinto deities of good luck and the patron deity of tradesmen, Ebisu has a limited following in Tokyo. But the fair that is held the day before is very popular. People buy wooden images of Ebisu, good-luck tokens, and most important of all, the large, white, pickled radish known as bettara that is so closely identified with the fair.
The Sticky-Sticky Fair was named after the way the pickled radishes were sold. Stall keepers used to dangle them from a rope so the buyer wouldn't get his hands sticky from the malted rice in which the radishes had been pickled. People would carry them home by swinging them from their ropes, calling out "Bettara! Bettara!" so that others would make way for them. But mischievous young boys would often deliberately swing the sticky pickles around in a crowd to tease the women and girls, who were all dressed up in their holiday clothes.
CONTACTS:
Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Kasuga Business Center Bldg. 10F, 1-15-15 Nishikata
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, 113-0024 Japan
81-3-5840-8892; fax: 81-3-5840-8895
www.tcvb.or.jp/en/index_en.htm
SOURCES:
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 114
BkHolWrld-1986, Oct 19
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 336
JapanFest-1965, p. 200